Sena prefers Mayor over sitting MLA in Bandra East

Strong support: Congress candidate from Bandra East Zeeshan Siddiqui heading to file his nomination papers on Friday.

Strong support: Congress candidate from Bandra East Zeeshan Siddiqui heading to file his nomination papers on Friday.  

Ashish Shelar to take on Asif Zakaria in Bandra West

The Shiv Sena has snubbed Bandra East MLA Trupti Sawant and given the party ticket to contest the Assembly election from the constituency to Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar.

Mr. Mahadeshwar’s opponent will be first-time contestant Zeeshan Siddiqui, the son of Congress leader Baba Siddiqui. Matoshree, the residence of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, falls under Bandra East constituency and has traditionally been a Sena bastion. It largely consists of middle-class voters and includes residential areas such as government colony, MIG colony, Kala Nagar. It is also home to the Bandra Kurla Complex, the city’s commercial centre, and slums such as Garib Nagar and Behrampada.

The constituency was represented by three-time Sena MLA Prakash Bala Sawant till his demise in 2015. When bypolls were held to fill the seat, the Sena put up Sawant’s wife Trupti against Congress heavyweight Narayan Rane. Ms. Sawant went on to defeat Mr. Rane, becoming an MLA for the first time. Ms. Sawant had been lobbying with Matoshree for the past few days, while the Mayor, who is a corporator from Santacruz East, has been preparing for the polls for a year. Mr. Mahadeshwar is said to be close to Sena leader Anil Parab.

The suspense over who would be the Sena’s face from the constituency ended on Friday with Mr. Mahadeshwar filing his nomination papers. However, Ms. Sawant’s supporters created a ruckus outside Matoshree to express their displeasure over the party’s decision.

Vishwanath Mahadeshwar

Vishwanath Mahadeshwar   | Photo Credit: PTI

Incidentally, the candidature of both Mr. Mahadeshwar and Mr. Siddiqui found opposition within their parties. After Mr. Siddiqui’s candidature was finalised, several Congress members had openly expressed their discontent, claiming that a local leader should have been given a chance. Mr. Siddiqui is a resident of Bandra West, but Bandra East is home to a large Muslim population, many of whom are traditional Congress voters.

Mr. Mahadeshwar said, “This is a Sena seat, even former chief Minister Narayan Rane lost to the Sena here. I am a three-time corporator, my wife was a corporator once. Voters will not accept Zeeshan.” On Ms. Sawant being given the snub, he said, “I have been a party worker for 33-34 years. I got this opportunity now. The party has supported her in the past, now she should respect the party’s decision.” Mr. Mahadeshwar said he wants to work on the redevelopment of slums, especially those on defence land, and the redevelopment of MHADA buildings and the government colony.

Meanwhile, Bandra West constituency will witness a tussle between BJP MLA and State Minister of School Education Ashish Shelar and three-time Congress corporator Asif Zakaria. Mr. Shelar had defeated Baba Siddiqui in 2014. While Mr. Shelar, filed his nomination on Wednesday, Mr. Zakaria filed his nomination on Thursday. Both candidates are popular among the citizens’ associations. While Mr. Shelar has undertaken several development works in the area, Mr. Zakaria has taken up important issues in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s standing committee and general assembly.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 9:15:51 PM |

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